Tate & Lyle : Pure Economic Loss and the Modern Tort of Public Nuisance
Professor Lewis Klar criticizes the Canadian approach to the tort of public nuisance for
being illogical and incoherent. The authors agree with Klar’s assessment of the current state
of public nuisance law, but argue that insights drawn from the House of Lords decision in
Tate & Lyle Industries Ltd. v. Greater London Council offer a way forward. By
conceptualizing the tort of public nuisance as a cause of action that protects subjects from
suffering actual loss that is consequential on the violation of their passage and fishing rights
over public property, Tate & Lyle offers a coherent and restrained formulation of the tort
of public nuisance. This article examines the Tate & Lyle approach to public nuisance and
applies it to two infamous Canadian public nuisance cases. It concludes that the coherent,
logical approach to public nuisance articulated by the House of Lords in Tate & Lyle should
be readopted by Canadian courts.
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